Thursday, 20 May 2010

Respect agenda? What respect agenda?

A Whitehall review of how treasury money is distributed across the UK has been signalled by government sources, which could ultimately lead to a reduction in how much money Scotland receives each year from London.

Westminster sources have suggested a needs-based assessment to replace the controversial Barnett formula will be flagged up in next week’s Queen’s Speech, which will lay out the Liberal-Conservative Government’s legislative plans for the coming session, and how funding for Scotland will be fitted into the “New Politics”® and the so called respect agenda.

Following discussions yesterday between the Chancellor and Danny Alexander, the Scottish Secretary, a decision has been made to set up a review to look at the Scottish Government’s request to receive a fossil fuel levy worth £185 million. A review? How long will that take? Either its Scotland’s money or its not. They are very quick to fire a starting gun on reform of the Barnett formula, that even Mrs Thatcher didn’t think was too outrageous in her mad rush to reform everything. But when it comes to letting Scotland benefit from her own natural resources we need a review. That will be like the Lib Dem supported Jenkins Commission that advocated AV+ in 1998 but was kicked into the long grass. And now the Lib Dems are happy to take a referendum on only AV which their alliance partners won’t be supporting. And what about Calman; Nick and Dave? When will we be getting the postage stamp tinkering with the Scottish settlement that, that promised? The respect agenda for Scotland is beginning to look like a lot more stick than carrot. “New Politics”® in action yet again but now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Conservative Party!

Meanwhile, David Cameron came under fire last night after making a bid to reform a key Tory committee that has historically been a focal point for backbench unrest. Conservative MPs are being balloted over whether ministers should be allowed to play a full part in the 1922 Committee. Traditionally, membership has been limited to backbenchers, when the party is in government. Not a cynical attempt to hobble the awkward squad is it? What happened to all that guff about decentralising government and parliament? Is there a point to that if at the same time you are going to centralise the working of your party to make it more easily controlled by the leading clique?

The surprise move could give the Prime Minister more control over the influential body amid growing disquiet about the coalition deal with the Liberal Democrats. What’s new about manoeuvring to control your own power base and scheming to stay at the top of the greasy pole?

Also the Lib Dems are apparently attempting to hold on to short money, a kind of tax payer subsidy to opposition parties to compensate for the fact that governing parties have the civil service and paid advisors to help them. But the Lib Dems are not in opposition any more. So is this just a fiddle?

This “New Politics”® is beginning to look more and more like just so much more of the old politics with a fancy name. And the respect agenda for Scotland is looking more like punishing us for not voting Tory, again!


  1. Nonsense.

    The respect agenda is the Tory led government pledging to protect Scotland from cuts for another year!

  2. Ah, the Tory cheerleaders are out I see...

    I agree with Munguin on this one D man. Respect? More like an empty platitude!

  3. Dean: that's it is it? But the new Queen's speech is going to have something in it about reform of the Barnett formula now! So no cuts this year and no Barnett formula next- No Jam at all really.

    According to Cheryl Gillan Wales will have to find twice the cuts next year I am assuming that is the same in Scotland. That is not respect Dean that is an insult.

  4. The key word there Munguin is "assuming".

  5. Are you saying we wont then Dean? But the Barnett formula will have to go, so by next year we will have less money anyway wont we? Pledging no cuts for one year but no Barnet consequentials any more and the possibility of bigger cuts next: year wow what respect!

  6. Will we be reviewing how much of our oil money they have to support the ailing economy?

    If we have a needs based income from London, does that mean that our government will have to request money from the LibCon government and will require to prove a need which may or may not be agreed by London?

    Doesn't seem very democrqatic, but I guess it's all good for independence.

  7. Tris: I guess that is just the sort of respect we can expect from the Tories and their sidekicks. They will want to shaft us one way or the other and if you swallow that respect tosh for one minute you deserve it.

  8. Dean,

    It's hardly likely that Wales will only have a deferrment of its cuts and Scotland will get away with them...

    I bet Scotland will have to cut twice as much next year, just the same as Wales.

    In fairness the FM has already found many cuts and is saving money, but I suspect that next year will be nightmarish.

    BTW, where on earth did he get that Welsh Secretary. Is she a token female. She's certainly not overly clever, incapable of dealing with a simple interview:

    And she doesn't even represent a Welsh constituency.

  9. The English Conservatives when talking about respect....mean the respect a lowly servant gives their master bowing and scraping and forelock tugging grateful for any scraps left on the table.


  10. Mr whatever,

    I certainly do not feel like I am crippled by a Morris-like servitude!

  11. Something unrelated that I know you will all enjoy as much as I did:

  12. Very good Dean.... LOL

  13. Respect? What about respect to English taxpayers? Or is it that Scotland is somehow a special case that ought to have its responsibility for cuts defered indefinately?

    What on earth is disrespectful in asking Scotlands executive to make its fair share of cuts, but can dictate when it makes them? No one forced Salmond to agree to defer them, he did it out of political convienience for 2011!

    There is absolutely nothing disrespectful in Osbornes policy. Me thinks your idea of respect is Scottish exceptionalism- which is utter tripe.